In Trinidad and Tobago, Carnival Goes Feminist


Custer Free Press

Photo: Andrea De Silvia

Gabrielle Hosein,
The University of the West Indies: St. Augustine Campus

Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival, which recently ended its 2017 rendition, is an event as contradictory as it is extraordinary. The Conversation

No mere mimicry of other such celebrations in Rio de Janeiro or New Orleans, Carnival on this Caribbean island of 1.4 million people – primarily descended from enslaved Africans and Indian indentured labourers – combines African traditions with European pre-Lent festivities and Indian musical rhythms.

Given this syncretism, it’s perhaps unsurprising that, over the past 200 years, Carnival has been not just two days of normal order turned upside down but also an annual expression of female political resistance.

Beads and glitter and ‘bikini mas’

Caribbean women’s takeover of Carnival is most evident during “bikini mas”. Each year, tens of thousands of women participate in this Carnival mas(querade), “playing mas” in Rio-style sequined bikinis, feathered…

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About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at http://www.sambaman.org.uk
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